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Iran’s Nuclear Setbacks: A key for U.S. diplomacy

January 18, 2011
David Albright and Andrea Stricker       Iran’s nuclear program is suffering mounting setbacks, which in turn will provide more time for diplomacy and reduce the imminence of military strikes. The problems fall into three broad categories : increased difficulty of obtaining essential parts on…

Nuke estimate may buy diplomacy more time

January 13, 2011
Michael Adler What does the new estimate by Israel’s retiring Mossad chief Meir Dagan-- that Iran won’t have a weapon before 2015-- do to the diplomatic effort? It reinforces it. Diplomacy needs time and and gets time if Iran is stalled in its nuclear program, as is apparently the case.  How…

What's Turkey's Role in the Second Round of Iran Talks?

January 10, 2011
Henri J. Barkey Previous talks have always been in European venues, so why Istanbul for this second round of talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers over Iran’s controversial nuclear program?  Iran called for the talks to be held in Istanbul to reward Turkey—and also Brazil, since…

Patterns of Iran Human Rights Abuses 2010

December 16, 2010
Hadi Ghaemi       Iran launched a sweeping crackdown on human rights and civil society in 2010, following political unrest after the disputed June 2009 presidential election. The executive branch, the Revolutionary Guards and security services increasingly engaged in the arbitrary exercise of…

Iran’s trade with major powers increasing, despite sanctions

December 12, 2010
Semira N. Nikou     Trade between Iran and the world’s six major powers increased well into 2010, despite international sanctions and tough financial restrictions, according to International Monetary Fund figures and individual foreign ministries. Countries now negotiating with Iran include the…

Iran nuclear talks: A widening chasm

December 9, 2010
Robin Wright (Council on Foreign Relations interview)There seems to have been a little progress during the two days of meetings in Geneva, but where's the emphasis? How "little" and how much "progress"?The emphasis has to be on "little." In many ways, it appears that the two sides are even further…

Statements on the Dec. 6-7 talks between Iran and the major powers

December 7, 2010
       Iran and the world’s six major powers held talks in Geneva on Dec. 6 and 7. The only agreement was to hold a second round in Istanbul in January. These are major statements or comments by the delegations as widely reported in the press. .  European Union foreign policy chief Lady Catherine…

Prospects for talks with Iran face huge obstacles

December 3, 2010
Shahram Chubin        Negotiations between Iran and its critics are rare. They are always welcome, although they have seldom been productive. The talks in Geneva on Dec. 6 and 7 face the same huge obstacles as past diplomacy.         First, the two sides—Iranian officials on one side of the…

Primer on Dec. 6-7 talks between Iran and the world’s major powers

November 30, 2010
Ellen LaipsonWhy are the upcoming talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers important?The talks are the most important opportunity in more than one year for the international community to vet differences with Iran over its nuclear activities.  The mere resumption of talks--which include…

U.S. cables “wiki-leaked” show Gulf hawkish on Iran

November 29, 2010
Afshin Molavi What are the most significant Wikileaks revelations?The U.S. diplomatic cables portray the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain as very hawkish on Iran, even urging the United States to attack their Persian Gulf neighbor to forestall its nuclear program.…

U.N. report says Iran’s nuclear program temporarily stopped

November 24, 2010
Michael Adler The International Atomic Energy Agency – the U.N. nuclear watchdog – issued a report on Iran’s controversial nuclear program on Nov. 23. What did it conclude, in a nutshell? It reported that Iran stopped uranium enrichment for at least one day on Nov. 16, although it provided no…

Iran's Worsening Military Status

November 23, 2010
Bruce O. Riedel        Iran's military leaders, both in the regular military and the Revolutionary Guards, cannot be pleased with trends in the regional military balance. They retain formidable retaliatory power both in missiles and militant allies, but the basics of the military balance are…

Iran’s military exercises send strategic message to Israel, the United States

November 19, 2010
Michael Connell        Iran launched five-day military exercises on Nov. 16 to test its air defenses in case of an attack on its nuclear sites or other sensitive facilities. The war games—dubbed Defenders of the Sky of Velayat III—are the largest exercises ever held, according to the government.…

Case of alleged adulteress reflects Iran’s internal divisions

November 17, 2010
Haleh Esfandiari What is Iran trying to do or prove in the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned to death for alleged adultery and later sentenced to hang for complicity in the murder of her husband? The Ashtiani affair shows once again the internal divisions…

New Report by U.S. Institute of Peace and Stimson Center: Recommendations to Rebalance U.S. Policy Toward Iran

November 15, 2010
Daniel Brumberg       The chances of success in negotiations with Iran would increase if the international community extended a new offer of “strategic engagement,” while sustaining sanctions.       The United States should take advantage of the leverage gained from the sanctions’ success to…

Iran ranked higher than Turkey, Brazil by U.N. development index

November 12, 2010
Kevan Harris               Iranians are doing better in health and education than their counterparts in key countries in the developing world, according to a new U.N. report. The 2010 U.N. Human Development Report ranks Iran at 70 out of 169 countries--higher than Brazil at 73, Venezuela at 75,…

State and people both show nerves over subsidy reform

November 10, 2010
Semira N. Nikou       A bad case of nerves has hit Iran.          With long-delayed subsidy reform due to take effect any day, merchants have already jacked up prices of basic goods as much as 30 percent in anticipation of higher costs to them. And long lines have been forming at gas stations as…

Why Ahmadinejad Lashed out at Russia

November 7, 2010
Mark N. KatzWhy is Ahmadinejad so publicly critical of Russia?Ahmadinejad has harshly criticized for Moscow for cancelling its previously agreed-upon sale of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran.  Tehran expected these weapons to be delivered in mid-2009, but Moscow first cited delays for "…

Revolutionary Guards Criticize President Ahmadinejad

November 5, 2010
Alireza Nader        Recent criticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Revolutionary Guards publication Payam-e Enghelab (Message of the Revolution) is in some ways unprecedented. Yet it is also not completely surprising. Ahmadinejad, who has been opposed by the reformists and the…

Iran’s Troubled Five-Year Plan

November 4, 2010
Farideh Farhi         After months of wrangling, Iran’s parliament finally approved the outline of a new five-year economic, cultural and social plan on Oct. 30. Yet the vote underscored the divide within Iran’s legislature. The plan is also both so overly ambitious and so vague that the…

Reflections on the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover

November 1, 2010
John LimbertNov. 4 is the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover. You were a U. S. diplomat in Tehran and then a hostage. Over the next year, what are the prospects that Washington and Tehran can move beyond three decades of hostile relations symbolized by that episode?It is long past time that…

U.S. sanctions 37 front companies connected to Iran

October 27, 2010
Matthew Levitt       In the latest U.S. move to pressure Iran, the Treasury Department has sanctioned 37 German, Maltese, and Cypriot companies for being owned or controlled by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). The new designations on Oct. 27 are a logical next step for the…

Leader reasserts authority during Qom trip

October 26, 2010
Mehdi Khalaji       Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s fourth and longest official visit to Qom since he became supreme leader 21 years ago can be seen as a sign of his self-confidence in ending the unrest following the disputed 2009 presidential election. Khamenei reasserted his authority during a…

The supreme leader's nine-day trip to Qom

October 25, 2010
Genieve Abdo          Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei made an unprecedented, nine-day trip to Qom last week to try to rehabilitate himself among the clerics. He has reasons to worry. Qom’s lack of subordination is a threat to Khamenei’s rule and to the long-term survival of the Islamic Republic — a…

President Ahmadinejad's Trip to Lebanon

October 18, 2010
Emile Hokayem       The two-day visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Lebanon on Oct. 13-14 was a thunderous display of Iranian "soft power" and a testament to the strength of Tehran's relationship with its Shiite ally Hezbollah. Yet the visit did not reflect any shift in Iran's policy in…